The Cornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas) is a large multi-stemed deciduous shrub that is sometimes trained as a small tree. The growth habit is usually round or oval in shape. The green foliage is 2 to 4 inches long, presenting in an opposite leaf arrangement. As with other dogwoods, there is also opposite branching.A winner of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society, this shrub features clusters of yellow flowers appearing at the end of winter or early spring, which then lead to edible red fruits. This is one of the earliest shrubs to bloom, with blossoms that unfurl before the leaves. The clusters of yellow flowers are similar in appearance to forsythia, and the red stone fruits (drupes) that ripen in July resemble olives in size and shape. They are used in European cuisine for drinks, syrups, preserves, jams, and sauces. They can be eaten fresh or dried, though they need to be fully ripe in order to lose some of their bitterness.The leaves of cornelian cherry dogwood may develop some shades of reddish-purple in fall, though the display is not notable. The peeling, exfoliating brown bark adds some four-season interest to the plant. Cornelian cherry dogwood is a fairly slow-growing species that will take up to 10 years to achieve 15 feet in height. It is normally planted in the spring.